Art Lecture Series

Every fall, the Art Lecture Series Committee brings yet another fantastic series of lectures to the DCA. The lectures offer an in-depth look into a specific type of art or artist, and are led by curators and other art scholars from the region. This year’s series was sponsored by Darien Rowayton Bank.

2017 Art Lecture Series — “Homer Winslow: Four Perspectives”

For the first time, the Art Lecture Series focused on one artist, Winslow Homer, who is widely recognized as one of, if not the most important American artist. Known for his marine paintings, he is also considered to be one of the most acute observers of the human condition, addressing both the personal and political.

Thursdays: October 5, 12, 19 and 26
11:00am lecture, luncheon followed*

Presented by:
Kevin Murphy
Williams College Museum of Art
Williamstown, MA

Susan Faxon
Addison Gallery of American Art
Andover, MA

Marc Simpson, Art Historian
Homer Scholar

Stephanie Herdrich
Metropolitan Museum of Art

*Specially designed luncheons by Diane Browne Catering. Luncheons followed the lecture.

Painting for Money: Winslow Homer
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Presented by Kevin M. Murphy, Eugénie Prendergast Curator of American Art at WCMA

Winslow Homer has often been described as the quintessential American artist of the 19th century. In his work and his life, he seemed to be uncompromising — he developed a unique and powerful Realist style to depict the forces of nature and chose to live in rural Maine, close to the roiling sea that was often the subject of his brush, but far from the center of the American art world in New York. However, when it came time to sell his work, he was quite compromising. Homer often repainted or altered work that proved difficult to sell, responding directly to criticism in the press or from art dealers. This talk delved into Homer’s marketing of his work, and discussed how and why he altered beloved paintings now in the collections of such museums as the Clark Art Institute and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Man and Nature, Men and Women in the Addison’s Homer Paintings
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Presented by Susan Faxon, Associate Director and Curator, Addison Gallery

The Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, is noteworthy for its impressive collection of American art. The magnanimous gift of alumnus Thomas Cochran in 1931 included a Classical Revival building, endowments, and a founding collection of masterworks of American art by Copley, Stuart, Eakins, Sargent, Prendergast, and Hassam, as well as four paintings and seven watercolors by Winslow Homer.

The four Homer oil paintings that the Addison owns remain today among the most treasured works in the collection. In fact each spring, graduates return to the halls of the Addison to view Homer’s iconic Eight Bells. Why is this painting so compelling to those who viewed it as school boys? What does this painting and the Addison’s other three paintings say about Homer’s concept of mankind’s relationship to nature, and the artist’s perception of men and women?

Homer’s Humor: or, The Obtuse Bard Hiding His Light Under a Bushel
Thursday, October 19, 2017

Presented by Marc Simpson, noted Homer scholar, independent art historian, co-author with Colm Tóibín, Henry James and American Painting.

When we think of Winslow Homer, we often think of a misanthropic recluse on the coast of Maine. As with all generalizations, however, this characterization simplifies and flattens the individual; in fact the artist had a wicked sense of humor, one that was often in evidence throughout his career. We explored some examples of his wit in words and pictures. It is also true, however, that humor is challenging to translate from place to place or from one era to another. To demonstrate this, we casted a sustained look on one of Homer’s most important early paintings, The Bright Side, and responses to it.

 

Winslow Homer in the Caribbean
Thursday, October 26, 2017

Presented by Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator of American Paintings, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Between 1884 and 1905, Winslow Homer often sought refuge from harsh Maine winters in the Caribbean. He was particularly fond of the Bahamas, which he visited three times and described as “the best place I have ever found.” His travels in the region inspired the ambitious and iconic oil painting, The Gulf Stream, as well as a considerable body of work in watercolor, ranging from the decorative and seemingly touristic to more complex images of the inhabitants of the region as they fish for sharks or harvest sponges. This talk considered the The Gulf Stream in relationship to Homer’s Caribbean watercolors, his broader career, and the social-political history of the late-nineteenth century.

 

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Art Lecture Series Committee
Co-Chairs:
Patricia Hedlund,
Committee: Leslie Aloian, Marian Castell, Barbara Conrad, June Foster, Judy Rodriguez, Martha Yaney